Hot Desert all set to triumph
Paul Deegan can start the new season at Dundalk in the manner that he finished the last by taking tonight's 10-furlong maiden with Sinndar Desert.
The wily Curragh handler saddled winners at five successive Friday night fixtures to finish third in the trainers' table for the winter campaign with eight wins.
From five runners at headquarters on the opening of the Turf season on Sunday last, Deegan had three placed, so his team are in great shape.
He has live chances with both Coldstream and English Deer, but Sinndar Desert appeals as nap material under the excellent Chris Hayes in the finale.
The Jaber Abdullah-owned colt ran encouragingly to finish third behind smart Ballydoyle representatives Friendship and Kingfisher respectively in his two outings as a juvenile.
Over an extended mile at Killarney on his final outing in August, he stayed on purposefully, suggesting that this step-up in trip would be right up his street.
Hayes' mount is a promising colt, so he is fancied to get off the mark in an otherwise open contest that the likes of Battle Hymn, No Wunder and Westpieser could vie for the minor honours.
Dermot Weld, who bagged a pair of winners at headquarters on Sunday, has two horses on duty here.
The Hamdan Al Maktoum-owned Wateed sports blinkers but is passed over in favour of Ger Lyons' Bonjour Bob in the seven-furlong maiden.
However, Weld's Marty's Magic might break its duck for Leigh Roche in the 12-furlong maiden.
Mick Halford's Ebadani has shown gradual improvement in its four runs – the last of which came here when second to Heirloom.
The son of Halling could be a threat on its reappearance, but Marty's Magic is race-fit, having run well here to be third behind Shield at the end of January.
Halford's Slipper Orchid might overcome her lay-off in the seven-furlong handicap.
Meanwhile, Aidan O'Brien-trained Ruler Of The World will bid to justify favouritism in tomorrow night's $10million Dubai World Cup, the planet's most valuable race.
Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum is concerned the "inconsistent" nature of Meydan's Tapeta surface could count against Mukhadram in the big race.
He has yet to encounter an artificial surface and his owner admits he wishes the World Cup was run on turf.
"Honestly, if you ask me, I'd be happier if the race was run on grass as Mukhadram hasn't run on the Tapeta," Sheikh Hamdan said last night.